Staff Bios

Clint Corley, Founder of Forest Floor Wilderness Programs

Clint Corley

Founder and Executive Director

Clint first discovered his love of all things wild by growing up camping with his family in the verdant forests of central Florida. Later he deepened his relationship to nature by building his own wigwam home from bark & saplings, and tracking wolves during a year-long wilderness immersion in the arboreal forests of Wisconsin. Having been deeply impacted by the transformative power of nature-connection, and further driven to help others find this for themselves, Clint founded Forest Floor to serve as a bridge between modern humans and our ancient earth-centered past.

Michael Ismerio, Co-Director at Forest Floor Wilderness Programs

Michael Ismerio

Co-Director

Michael Ismerio is a passionate teacher who has been teaching fiddle music to people of all ages since.  In 2008 he became immersed in the growing Deep Nature Connection movement and shifted his focus to guiding others on their journey to awareness, authenticity, and connection.  Michael grew up in the foothills of California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains, spent many years in the lush rainforests of the Pacific Northwest, and now calls Asheville home.

Michael’s website:  Michaelismerio.com

Head shot of Carmen Lescher

Carmen Lescher

Finance, Administration and Planning

Carmen (she/her) was born to European descended parents in Northern California on the indigenous lands of the Nisenan and Miwok peoples. She has lived in the mountains of Western North Carolina on the indigenous lands of the Catawba people since 2007 when she first came to Earthaven Ecovillage.

Carmen is dedicated to learning how to be human on this planet at this time. She is curious and cares deeply about how to be in right relationship with herself, her family, community, and this life-giving planet. She considers herself a generalist who is comfortable on the farm or construction site, around the kitchen, and in the garden or office. She has owned and operated a pasture-based poultry farm; worked on construction crews building passive solar, off-grid houses; and supported many small businesses with online marketing, administration, and bookkeeping.

Carmen is also currently the Treasurer of Earthaven Ecovillage where she is a community member, and Assistant Director, Bookkeeper, and Faculty at the School of Integrated Living.

Scott Carroll, Lead Instructor at Forest Floor Wilderness Programs

Scott Carroll

Field Director

Scott Carroll first discovered his love and sense of wonder for the natural world as a child and young man growing up on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. The ponds, streams, inlets, shoreline, forests and fields were like a playground of endless discoveries, learning and connection. After years of being immersed in city culture, his passion and desire for reconnection was rekindled while participating in a traditional Native American Vision Quest. Since then he has studied and/or participated at various nature connection programs including Tom Brown Jr’s Tracker School, The Art of Mentoring, Coyote Tracks and The 8 Shields Institute. Since 2012 he has been working as a Nature Connection Mentor within the 8 shields model primarily with children between the ages of 5 and 18. He considers it a gift to be able to work with youth in this way and is grateful for the opportunity to join the Forest Floor staff.​​

Scott Karas, Lead Instructor at Forest Floor Wilderness Programs

Scott Karas

Field Instructor

Scotty has been doing nature connection education work for Forest Floor and other organizations since 2014. He feeds his passion for nature with naturalist studies, natural crafts, and foraging food and medicine. Scotty is trained in Permaculture design and works locally designing and installing edible and medicinal gardens. He studied herbal medicine locally at the Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine and keeps his relationship with plants alive by growing and foraging medicinal herbs and making medicines and meads. Scotty runs Deep Roots Nature Education from which he offers his services such as wilderness retreats, apprenticeships, camping trips, permaculture design, land consultations, tours, and more.

Scotty’s website: DeepRootsNatureEducation.com​

Educator Jacob Reid standing beside a waterfall

Jacob Reid

Field Instructor

Jacob is a didgeridoo player, martial artist, and nature enthusiast. He has explored his love of other cultures through extensive travel and language immersion. He thrives on encouraging children to engage viscerally with the natural world and gently push their boundaries.

He has led youth backpacking trips on the Appalachian trail, facilitated high ropes course challenges, and taught archery. It is his joy to empower others to learn and grow.

Grace Upshaw having fun playing with a black snake

Grace Upshaw

Field Instructor

Grace is a passionate educator and mentor who has found deep joy and fulfillment in her nine years of working with youth and adults. Through her work at earthskills gatherings, in classrooms, and in nature-based programs of all kinds, she supports people of all ages to become more fully themselves by connecting more deeply to each other and to the natural world.

Grace holds a B.S. in Wildlife Biology from Lees-McRae College and has studied permaculture, leadership, ecosystem restoration, and educational psychology, continually honing her skills at supporting others to learn, grow, and thrive. She believes in the transformative power of learning to feel at home on the earth.

Instructor Katie Costanzo leaning against a tree

Katie Costanzo

Field Instructor

Katie aspires to live each day of her life embracing and nourishing the wild creature that she is. She has come a long way from the suburbs of long island NY, where she grew up playing in the ocean ~ seeking refuge in the beautiful south shore. She has adventured and lived in many different bioregions and ecosystems from Big Island Hawaii, to Skagway Alaska to now Southern Appalachia.

Katie got her BA in psychology and sociology going on to follow her passions in outdoor rec and education, electoral politics, community organizing, horticulture therapy, farming and birth work. She has studied to be a birth doula and apprenticed at Wild Abundance earning her PDC and learning about regenerative gardening, natural building, herbalism, earth skills and more! She loves cultivating rich, reciprocal relationships with the natural world whether that’s rock climbing or slowing down and narrowing her focus on little jelly fungus growing on decaying logs. She sees herself as a protector of the land and is always trying to weave in the work of dismantling oppressive and exploitative systems and culture.

She finds the most meaning dwelling in the playful parts of existence, building deep connection with herself and her community, and working towards collective liberation for all beings.

Artist, gardener and mentor Matthew Kip with a big smile

Matthew Kip

Field Instructor

Matt grew up playing in a vast tract of forest in South Carolina, then watched it all be
bulldozed for development. This experience brought his awareness to the collision course
between modernity and the wild, and to the problem of how we might provide for our needs
without destroying nature. Matt works as a permaculture designer, leads foraging walks and
teaches homestead skills workshops throughout South Carolina. He founded a student-run
permaculture garden at the University of South Carolina, where he facilitates gardening and
nature immersion programs with students and children. When he’s not nibbling weeds, he
wrangles his three kids, dances with his wife and makes art.

Nature connection mentor and camp counselor Bryan Bramlett in his garden

Bryan Bramlett

Field Instructor

Bryan is an avid forager and permaculturist who leads events on wild food foraging, land stewardship and ecotherapy. He holds a master’s degree in somatic counseling psychology which he fuses with his passion for Earth-care to facilitate therapeutic nature-connection experiences. Bryan has worked with youth in many capacities over the past 12 years, from being a group home counselor to leading an elementary school gardening program. His mission is to build healing ecosystems to bring communities into a balanced relationship with the Earth and one another.

Find out more about these offerings at HealingEcosystems.com

Nature connection teacher Sam Giovanetti

Sam Giovanetti

Field Instructor

Sam was born and raised on the outskirts of Philadelphia where skateboarding allowed him to explore the suburban environment in a different way. Once realizing that the world was not all pavement and buildings, he quickly set to work on going out to see it and learn more about it and himself. He has had the pleasure of walking the Appalachian and Pacific Crest Trails. He has spent a year living in a tipi he had sewn with his friends while attending college.

Along the way, he has worked for several nature connection organizations throughout the country helping youth along their journey through life – and in turn, his.